Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.
You know these as six of the seven ingredients of McDonald’s Big Mac hamburger.
With all of those divergent flavors competing for tongue time, why even bother with the beef? When you think about it, pairing wine with a hamburger is much more about the condiments than the meat.
If you slather ketchup on your burger, you need a wine that’s very fruitful such as a California Zinfandel or an Australian Shiraz.
If your burger is topped with a slice of very strong cheese, you may want to opt for a glass of Chardonnay – yes, a white wine.
Only if your burger is plain… or perhaps accompanied by grilled onions… should you opt for a big, tannic red such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Even in such cases, Merlot or Pinot Noir may be better choices.
With the foregoing as a word to the wise, here are three stylish burgers to check out when you find yourself in the right city…
* CHICAGO – Rosebud Steakhouse. Twelve ounces of juicy goodness on a pretzel-dough bun. Tastes like a buttery steak, for about one-third of the cost.
* LOS ANGELES – Father’s Office (in Santa Monica). This restaurant has only one burger on its menu, and it’s topped with caramelized onions, blue cheese and arugula. The accompanying fries are made from sweet potatoes – a nice SoCal touch.
* NEW YORK – City Burger. The secret of this Times Square operation is the use of La Frieda Black Label beef – dry-aged and prime, and fabulously flavorful.